It’s pretty well known that I am not a big believer in FibreChannel, or even worse, FibreChannel over Ethernet.
But J Michel Metz ((From his blog: “Most recently J has used his skills as a Solutions Architect/Marketing Manager to espouse and promote Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), its promise and future in the data center, as well as promote over 20 joint QLogic/HP products with internatonal routes-to-market as a focus.” )) has been recruited by Cisco to go out into the community and “evangelize” the FCoE protocol. So, we have a blog post on Cisco’s Data Center blog that claims that FCoE standards are all packed up and ready to go.
Here is the link :
Will The Real FCoE Standards Please Stand Up
Read that. Yep, feels like misdirection doesn’t it. Like a magic trick: “No, don’t look at my right hand, look at MY LEFT HAND.”
“Oh, NO they’re not”
While it’s true that the FibreChannel standards that make up the least significant part of the FibreChannel over Ethernet protocol have been complete for a long time, you can’t claim a moral leadership because of that and that, by extension, all the other standards are under control. Cisco has been claiming that DCB Ethernet standards will be ready since the middle of 2009. Now it’s late 2010 and still no sign of completion.
So, we have a car and no wheels. Or gearbox. Just because Cisco chose to put out a range of products that use a version of FCoE doesn’t validate the technology. Neither does the half a billion dollars that Cisco has spent so far in technology and marketing. It’s certainly enough to create some buzz and force partners to do something about it.
The EtherealMind View
FCoE is clearly struggling. Cisco is the only vendor throwing full support into it. I believe that other vendors feel pressured by Cisco to add support. Whether indirectly, because of Cisco’s dominant market position, or directly as Cisco uses partnership agreements to lock in technology adoption, really doesn’t matter. I say this because only Cisco’s partners such as EMC and NetApp are doing anything. CNAs are coming from two or three companies, but almost no one else. HP, IBM, Brocade ? Yeah, it’s coming they say. I’ve been saying similar things since April 2009 The Case Against FibreChannel.
In the meantime, the momentum behind NFS and iSCSI as viable storage networking tools is growing. Next year, SAN booting over iSCSI is expected to be widely available, as will CNAs with high speed iSCSI and NFS performance. Check Microsoft and Intel Push One Million iSCSI IOPS There are reasons why Microsoft has not released a native FCoE client for Windows Server (because creating a lossless network driver is difficult for Microsoft to achieve).
Don’t let Cisco run out the astroturf and hide the fact that DCB standards are not here, and won’t be here anytime soon. Just because Cisco wants you to use their proprietary, pre-standard technology today so they can some ‘leadership’.
And when they do come, you will need to forklift all of your Cisco kit out of your datacenter to get the new features. That’s the prize for Cisco, and that’s what drives this ‘marketing exercise’. FCoE has a place in just a few data centres of the future, but for the vast majority, don’t waste your money on it. Get proven, reliable storage networking using NFS and iSCSI and use your existing network equipment. Plan for migration as your networks grows and DCB will provide you the tools to scale IP storage protocols.
Don’t listen to the paid marketing message from Cisco. Make your own decision.